Closing speech by ITC Executive Director, Ms. Patricia Francis

22 May 2012
ITC News

Closing speech by ITC Executive Director, Ms. Patricia Francis.
Delivered on Day Two of the 46th Session of the ITC JAG, 21-22 May 2012.
Tuesday 22 May 2012, 17:50-18:00


Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are very happy to have heard from you, from 32 members – beneficiary countries and donors alike, over the last two days.

Your feedback is essential, so that we have a clear indication from you as to the strategy and also the implementation of our work programme.

As many of you have also remarked, we are meeting at a time of economic volatility, dramatically slowing growth in world trade and shortage of capital. Developing country SMEs are operating in a much more fragile environment. It is within this context that ITC is offering partnership to beneficiary countries to develop programmes in line with their real needs, which create jobs and are inclusive and sustainable in the long run. Well designed and needs based programmes that are built around SMEs meeting global market needs, stand a higher chance of distributing the benefits of trade among the population while expanding global trade.

We are pleased that, overall, you support our work and see it as relevant to your own development goals and needs. This is key to our approach of client-driven TRTA. We also thank you for your support on our strategic direction, the endorsement of our Strategic Plan for 2012-2015 and the new Strategic Framework, with particular support for our commitment to move toward socio-economic impact measurement and gender mainstreaming at the level of corporate indicators of achievement.

There are a number of key messages we take away from this meeting. Dr. Supachai stressed the need to carry out more research on public private partnerships to map out best practices and linkages and bring SMEs into global supply chains. DG Lamy identified 4 priorities for us:
• Trade facilitation
• Aid for Trade and the creation of regional supply chains
• focus on LDCs
• Regional integration.

He also told us that as ITC matures, it should perhaps consider Unctad and WTO as older siblings, rather than parents. While we are flattered by his comment, we fully that being a mature sibling, rather than a child entails more responsibility in shaping our destiny and strategy.

Looking across the interventions over the last few days there are some clear themes that emerge from delegates.

Both our donors and beneficiaries have emphasized the importance of impact and quality in TRTA. The discussion confirmed the strategic importance of large programs for the sustainability of ITC’s impact oriented strategy. There was a wide call for renewed support from donors for the regeneration of ITC’s large projects pipe-line. It was also suggested that we explore possibilities of multi-donor funding for large programmes and further develop partnerships, including public-private partnerships, to increase volumes and impact of our delivery.

Delegates unanimously encouraged ITC to create innovative programmes to build the capacity of the private sector with a view to integrate SMEs in global supply chains focusing in particular on the most vulnerable economies: LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS and Sub-Saharan Africa. We are looking to maintain the majority of our to these target groups. You have also expressed support for ITC’s efforts to promote regional integration and intra-regional trade, the focus on providing trade intelligence for LDCs, work on WTO accession of LDCs, the strong emphasis on Non-Tariff Measures, the recent endeavour to develop trade in services and the progress of the institutional benchmarking program.

Many of you have remarked that trade development should be seen as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself and that the growth produced is inclusive and leads not only to growth in GDP but also human development. In line with your recommendations we are looking to expand our activities in the field of the green economy. We will continue to promote an inclusive and sustainable model of development, focusing on poverty reduction, and the empowerment of women and youth.

We thank members for their support for RB funding for Benchmarking, Communications and RBM. I would also like to thank you for your comments on the quality of the documentation we have produced for this meeting, the increased transparency of our activities reporting.

Finally, on a personal note, I would like to let you know that my term as Executive Director ends at the end May next year – which makes this my second last JAG. You will hear from Unctad and WTO, requesting that you put forward nominations for the new Executive Director. When a CEO changes, change is there to follow. As we have discussed over the last two days, ITC is looking to raise significant funding for a new generation of large projects. I trust that the level of confidence our donors have in the DED and in the legacy of the work we have started will hopefully ensure that we can sign off on some large projects before I depart.  

JAG now ends, but our dialogue does not. We are looking forward to hearing from you regarding your needs and priorities for 2013 and beyond. Our regional offices will be actively reaching out to missions of our beneficiary countries to continue the dialogue.

We are very thankful for your ongoing support to ITC, its mandate and mission.

In closing, I would again like to thank the WTO and UNCTAD for their continued support and guidance to ITC.

I thank you for your attention and wish you all a nice evening.